September 04, 2016

Victoria - Episode 3


creen chemistry is a wonderful thing. 

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In Victoria, former Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell have exuded it in spades, bringing an electric fizz to the young queen’s supposed passion for her prime minister, Lord Melbourne. That’s more than enough, one imagines, to convince those already ensnared by the series’ many other charms not to abandon it in favor of the returning mega-hit Poldark.
But chemistry or no, Victoria’s passion for Lord M had to remain unrequited, mainly because it never existed, and what we saw came from Daisy Goodwin’s re-imagining of Melbourne as a Byronic hero rather than the balding, portly figure of history. This sparkling third episode was devoted to the lonely monarch’s painful realization that when it comes to being queen, duty trumps desire every time. Or almost every time (more of which later).

So there was lots of wistful gazing out of palace windows, and contorted romantic whisperings (I speak to you not as a queen but as a woman” / “You cannot give your heart to me – I have no use for it!”). But this was balanced by moments of levity, courtesy of the minor players such as Victoria’s willfully stroppy home-grown suitor Prince George (Nicholas Agnew), and her pompous uncle King Leopold (Alex Jennings), whose lectures on the benefits of marriage always coincided entertainingly with his vested interests.

Fans of Paul Rhys’s star turn as the constipated-looking Sir John Conroy will have thrown their hands up in despair at the prospect of his sudden departure, now that Victoria has bribed him (with an Irish title and £1,000 a year) to leave her mother and her court. All credit to Rhys, who even brought an unexpected edge of vulnerability to this arch villain.

Tom Hughes as Prince AlbertThere are times when Victoria feels like history re-imagined as a teen romance, which is precisely the note we finished on. The closing moments brought the true hero of this story Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) to the fore. We caught only the merest glimpse of him – a moustachioed Coburg hussar – as this was a tease expressly designed to keep hearts thumping through to the next episode.
Of course, we all know how that relationship went. Or think we do. The challenge for Coleman and Hardy will be to generate enough heat between them to convince us of it. Still, in its casting, Victoria has yet to put a foot wrong and, on past outings, Hughes has shown – especially in the terrific BBC spy thriller The Game – that he can smolder with the best of them.


  1. I'm really enjoying "Victoria!" So glad you have it for us to watch! British tv is the best! :0)

  2. What happened to episode two?

  3. Dreamy! This is going to tide me over for Outlander's next season!